Father of Michael Brown, Whose Death at Hands of Police Sparked Protests, Guest of Rep. Cori Bush at Biden’s SOTU Address

PC: Tom Williams/ Getty images via truthout.org

By Daphne Ho and Caleigh Carlisle

WASHINGTON, DCMichael Brown, Sr., father of Michael Brown—killed by police, sparking national protests against police brutality in 2014—was the guest of Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01) this week at President Biden’s State of the Union address.

Congresswoman Bush is the first Black woman to represent Missouri in the House of Representatives, and is currently serving her first term. Bush is the first activist from the movement to save Black lives elected to Congress.

She has been a fierce advocate for an affirmative public safety agenda. Last Congress, Bush introduced the Helping Families Heal Act (the Michael Brown Bill) alongside Lezley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother, which would provide victims and families affected by police violence access to the mental health services they need.

The representative also introduced the People’s Response Act, which would create a new federal division—the Division of Community Safety—within the Department of Health and Human Services to research and fund alternatives to incarceration and policing.

Rep. Bush notes her activist work in BLM inspired her political career. She maintains close connections with lead activists and the family members of shooting victims for collaboration and support on political projects. Since her election to office, Bush has introduced numerous bills concerning public safety and police brutality.

“Currently, there are no government-funded mental health programs or services targeted for victims of police brutality, leaving communities without the tools to heal and for trauma to linger,” Bush said in late Sept., 2022.

In response to the lack of mental health resources, Rep. Bush, along with Lezley McSpadden, collaborated in introducing the Helping Families Heal Act in 2022.

“[This act] would establish mental health services for our youth, families, and communities who are impacted by the trauma of police violence,” Rep. Bush stated.

Lezley McSpadden describes how “mental health therapy is a first line treatment for trauma.” This aligns with the act’s focus on mental wellness and support for the grieving.

According to Rep. Bush’s website, the People’s Response Act would fund programs related to “non-carceral, health-centered investments in public safety.” It would also provide funding to local governments to hire emergency first responders such as social workers, substance use counselors, and mental health counselors in an effort to improve crisis response.

The police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., in 2014 was a major event that helped shape how the BLM movement looks today. Bush describes how the incident “propelled me and many others into lives dedicated to building a world where Mike would still be here with us—a world where his life could not be taken from him.”

Michael Brown, Jr., was only 18 years old when he was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Since the incident, that area became a key location for BLM organization and other responses to Brown’s death that spread awareness of the issue.

“Every day, I carry Michael Brown and Ferguson Frontline with me in the halls of Congress as we fight to save lives,” said Rep. Bush, referring to her time protesting in Ferguson.

Michael Brown, Sr., clearly states his support for Rep. Bush to address the issue of systemic violence in the police and justice system, saying, “Congresswoman Bush has been on the Ferguson frontlines with me since 2014 being the change we need to see.”

Since the death of Michael Brown, Jr., at the hands of law enforcement, Brown Sr. has founded the Chosen for Change Organization, a non-profit which focuses on providing aid and outreach programs for families affected by police violence.

On their website, they write, “Chosen for Change focuses on providing support to other families who have lost loved ones due to police brutality or community violence.”

Brown Sr. states, “Together we are still fighting for an end to police violence and the never-ending pain and trauma that follows.” He emphasized the importance of unity to “guarantee the safety and security of our communities.”

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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